David Setran, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Christian Formation & Ministry
On Faculty since 1999

Phone: (630)752-5452


2000 Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana. Ph.D. in History of Education. Doctoral Minor: Philosophy of Education

1994 Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois. M.A., program in Educational Ministries, Wheaton College 

1992 Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois. B.S. Biology summa cum laude

About David Setran

A biology major as an undergraduate student at Wheaton, I felt God's call on my life to move into a ministry focus in my schooling. I obtained an M.A. in Educational Ministries and grew passionate about developing a vision for education that was true to the biblical witness and to the Christian worldview as a whole. This continues to be my passion to this day. I earned my Ph.D. at Indiana University, where I studied History and Philosophy of Education with an eye to how Christian education has been shaped both by the history of the Church and the history of educational thought through the centuries. While there, I also worked at a church in the area of college and young adult ministry.

Courses Taught

  • CE 233 Discipleship
  • CE 421 History and Philosophy of Christian Education
  • CFM 513 History and Philosophy of Ministry
  • CFM 641 College and Young Adult Ministries
  • CFM 681 Integrative Seminar
  • (Click here to view department syllabi--past and current.)

Membership in Professional Societies

  • National Association of Professors of Christian Education (N.A.P.C.E.)
  • History of Education Society


My research areas of interest include the history of Christian education, the philosophy of Christian education, college student development and formation, and the theory and practice of character formation.

Papers Published and/or Presented

Select Publications: 

  • Setran, David P. and Chris A. Kielsing, Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood: A Practical Theology for College and Young Adult Ministry (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013).
  • Setran, David P. The College “Y:” Student Religion in the Era of Secularization (New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2007).
  • Setran, David P., James Wilhoit and Don Ratcliff, “Spiritual Formation Goes to College: Class-Related Soul Projects in Christian Higher Education,” Christian Education Journal, vol. 7, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 401-422.
  • Setran, David P. “Developing the “Christian Gentleman:” The Medieval Impulse in Protestant Ministry to Adolescent Boys, 1890-1920,” Religion and American Culture, vol. 20, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 165-204.
  • Setran, David P. “Character and the Clinic: The Shift from Character to Personality in American Character and Religious Education, 1930-1940,” in Donald Warren, ed. Moral and Civic Learning in America (New York: Palgrave/Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press, 2006).
  • Setran, David P. “‘From Moral Aristocracy to Christian Social Democracy:’ The Transformation of Character Education in the Hi-Y, 1910-1940.” History of Education Quarterly 45, no. 2 (Summer 2005): 207-246.
  • Setran, David P. “Morality for the ‘Democracy of God:’ George Albert Coe and the Liberal Protestant Critique of American Character Education, 1917-1940.” Religion and American Culture 15, no. 1 (Winter 2005): 107-144.
  • Setran, David P. and James Wilhoit. “Turning Points in Christian Education: Some Initial Perspectives,” Christian Education Journal 2, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 353-357.
  • Setran, David. "From Morality to Character: Conservative Progressivism and the Search for Civic Virtue, 1910-1930." Paedagogica Historica 39, no. 4 (2003): 435-456.
  • Setran, David. "Student Religious Life in the 'Era of Secularization:' The Intercollegiate YMCA, 1917-1940." History of Higher Education Annual 21 (2001): 7-45.
  • Setran, David. Jeremiah McAuley. In The Encyclopedia of New York State, ed. Peter Eisenstadt. New York: Syracuse University Press (accepted and forthcoming, 2003).
  • Setran, David. "Muscular Christianity." In The Encyclopedia of American Boyhood, ed. Priscilla Ferguson Clement and Jacqueline S. Reinier. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2001.

Select Academic Presentations:

  • Setran, David P. “More Religion in Education and More Education in Religion:” Liberal Progressivism and the Educational Common Faith, 1917-1940, Annual Meeting of the Organization of Educational Historians, September 2010.
  • Setran, David P., Jim Wilhoit, and Dan Haase, “Soul Projects: Class Related Spiritual Practices in Christian Higher Education,” Calvin Conference on Teaching, Learning, and Christian Practices, October 2009.
  • Setran, David P. & Jim Wilhoit. “Soul Projects: Spiritual Formation in the Classroom,” North American Professor of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2008.
  • Setran, David P. & Barrett McRay. “Friendship at a Christian College: Implications for College Ministry,” North American Professor of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2008
  • Setran, David P. “Secularization and College Ministry: The Intercollegiate YMCA, 1888-1917,” Talbot Doctoral Symposium in Christian Education, June 2006.
  • Buchanan, Trey, Ken Chase, Lynn Cohick, and David Setran. “Wheaton College: Engaging Faculty in the Task of Moral Formation,” 2003 Pruitt Memorial Symposium at Baylor University (“The Schooled Heart: Moral Formation in American Higher Education”).
  • Setran, David P. “Turning Points in Christian Education: Lessons from Recent History,” North American Professor of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2003.
  • Setran, David P. “Student Religion, Higher Education, and the Philanthropic Impulse.” Indiana University, School of Philanthropy Annual Lecture, April 2002.